Meet the 2018 AIA New Zealand Team
Meet the 2018 AIA New Zealand Team
We have so enjoyed our time here in Ethiopia. One of the things we prayed for, we have seen play out in many different ways, namely, that God would work in us and through us. We’ve loved spending time with children at multiple different schools, running clinics, playing games, but I believe something that has had one of the most profound impacts on each of our staff and players have been the spiritual conversations that have taken place.
It’s also amazing to see what God can do with the simplest of tools that we use on tours. Over the last couple of weeks, we have played a “game” with most of the teams we’ve competed against called Soularium. This is essentially an interactive game with a deck of picture cards that people use to tell about their life, what they’re going through, searching for, etc. As our players led these discussions, some really cool things happened!
Over the last week, an Ethiopian coach and player have sat down at different times for conversations with two of our girls and accepted Christ! We couldn’t be happier to see this take place, and we are rejoicing to know that the Lord allowed us to be used during our time here to bring people into the kingdom.
Jackie and Lexie share more about this experience in a video that is on our Facebook page. Click here to hear their recap!
Today is our last day of our trip to Poland. What an amazing journey it has been. Thinking back to training camp in Xenia, Ohio when we were complete strangers to where we are now as a family, truly shows God’s ability to unite anyone and everyone together. For me personally, this trip involved so much spiritual growth. The fellowship we had every day was something that I have never experienced before. I am so blessed to have made such meaningful spiritual connections with so many individuals. God’s work is amazing!
Our day today included finishing up our last day of camp and playing a basketball game against an amateur Poland team. It was fun to interact with older players and see their skill levels as a coach. Our players had a lot of fun and the game was pretty competitive. To end the camp, we had a banquet where Coach Kyle spoke about the gospel and shared God’s love to us and the campers. It was incredible to look around as Coach Kyle spoke and see how focused the campers were as they heard the gospel. God was truly speaking to each and everyone one of them. What an incredible day! As this tour comes to a close, I am reflecting on a number of things. I want to make sure I stay connected with all of the incredibly awesome people I’ve met on this trip. I also am looking forward to diving into God’s word even more and learn as much as I can. This trip has ignited a spiritual fire in my soul and I can’t wait to Glorify God with the talents that He has given me, as well as, see what plans he has for me and everyone that has gone on this trip in the future.
Peace Out Poland, What’s up America!
This trip has been such an incredible experience. God has done so many great things that it would be hard to name them all. The group of players and coaches really came together quickly and everyone meshed so well with each other. Training camp was a short but a fun experience. We got some plays put in and also started preparing for the trip.
Poland has been awesome. The people are great and the cities are very beautiful. God has blessed us by being able to meet so many people here in Poland that love the Lord and are working to spread his love. We’ve seen so many children through our school visits and clinics. It’s been so rewarding and humbling to share the game of basketball with them and to also present them with the love and hope of having a relationship with Christ.
The games have gone well. We’ve won all four games we played and we’ve had a lot of fun learning to play with each other. It’s been great seeing a group of players that didn’t know each other two weeks ago really come together and support each other and grow together on the court. They’ve really been fun to watch!
God has worked in a mighty way in the lives of the players and the coaches. Everyone has grown spiritually and I’m confident that everyone will look back on this trip as a key moment in their walk with God. One of the best parts of the trip for me is all the relationships. I love how God brings all these people together in his perfect timing to accomplish his will. God is so good!
Yesterday, June 7, we were able to go to Yehiwet Birhan School in Addis. Here we were able to put on a basketball clinic for the basketball team and some other kids around the area. So far, this has been the most exciting but tiring day for most of our team.
It took us around an hour on the bus to get to the school, and these long bus rides have become some of my favorite memories. Being Americans, people on the street stare at us as we drive by. I love to make eye-contact with the people and give them a big smile and wave. Most of the time they smile really big back or give a quick eyebrow raise. We may not speak the same language, but we can communicate with a smile.
When we first got to the school, there was just an abundance of children. My heart instantly became filled with joy, I love kids!! At first, the kids were very scared to talk to us, but they were definitely curious about who we were. One by one, we were able to break down the barriers by asking their names and how old they were. You could see their faces start to light up, and the joy began bursting out of them. It was amazing to see how entertained the kids were by just making a pass and then going to the end of the line. While some of the older kids were passing, there wasn’t enough basketballs for all of the kids, so I took a group of little kids over and just began to run in a circle with them. The happiness that came onto their faces was something that I will never forget. It was in those moments that I experienced the pure joy that Jesus Christ brings.
Matthew 25:40, “And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”
The last several days in Addis, we have played two games and run several clinics around the city. We’ve loved every minute of getting to sit down with teams and hear about their lives and share our faith with them. Everyone has been beyond welcoming, and we are so grateful we’ve had the opportunity to serve and share our love for Christ and knowledge of basketball, while learning so much from them at the same time.
Pictured above are some of the girls before our clinic at Bingham Academy, a local Christian school here in Addis where missionaries from all over the world who serve in the area send their children. We were amazed at the amount of cultures and backgrounds represented in their school!
Half of our group ran camps all day in the gymnasium, while the other half went from classroom to classroom sharing testimonies and answering questions that the kids had. Some were silly and fun, like, “If you had a superpower, what would it be?” while others from older students went a bit deeper… If we go to a Christian college in America, does that mean all the students are Christians? How do maintain our faith when we move away and go to school?
We couldn’t have asked for a better experience there, and we are looking forward to what the rest of the trip has in store! Thanks so much for your prayers!